A British-American bluestocking living in the UK writes about politics, pop culture, and emerging new paradigms as they unfold on both sides of the Atlantic. (New content.)

Monday, 31 January 2011

Mrs Thatcher and the Holy Man of India

You read that correctly. Former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, known as "The Iron Lady" for her very strong and direct approach in leadership apparently had meetings with an Indian mystic by the name of Sri Chandraswamy not long after she was named leader of the Tory Party in 1975.

This extraordinary story was revealed by the former Indian Foreign Minister, Shri Natwar Singh who attended the meetings between the ambitious young politician and the Indian sage. It was Mr Chandraswamy who asked to meet Mrs Thatcher and she agreed albeit rather reluctantly. The guru had apparently risen to a bit of prominence among some celebrities as it was rumoured he had advised Nancy Reagan and Elizabeth Taylor and even Adnan Khashoggi.

Mrs Thatcher insisted that the meeting only take ten minutes of her time. Chandraswamy arrived with beads around his neck and in traditional garb. He told her to write down some questions on a piece of paper and the (then) irritated Prime Minister did so. Then, he went into meditation and when he came out of it, he correctly said what she had written on all the pieces of paper. Mrs Thatcher was suddenly interested. She asked questions and his answers intrigued her. When Chandraswamy took his leave, Mrs Thatcher was the one who asked to see him again.

They agreed to meet at Mr Singh's house and the guru produced a talisman instructing her to tie it on her left arm when she came to see him and for her to wear a red dress. While Mr Singh found this request to be presumptuous and a bit disrespectful, the Iron Lady showed up at his house as instructed with the talisman tied to her wrist and a "stunning" red dress.

The future Prime Minister's curiosity had been whetted and according to Mr Singh she asked a lot of questions.  However, the ones that seemed to interest her the most were questions regarding the possibility of her being Prime Minister one day. The guru told her that she would, indeed, become Prime Minister and would be in office for 11 or 13 years. When she asked him, "When will I become Prime Minister?" He told her:  "In three or four years." She became Prime Minister in four years.

Mr Singh went on to say that after she became Prime Minister this incident was buried. Apparently, at the Commonwealth Summit in 1979, soon after her election, Mr Singh reminded her gently by saying: "Our man was proven right." She took Mr Singh aside and said, "High Commissioner, we don't talk about these things."

The indomitable Iron Lady, by the way, was in office for 11 years...Sri Chandraswamy was correct.